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Devotional: Communication and Conflict

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We are called to be attentive to one another in marriage, to stop and listen and to learn about each other.

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19

As men and women our differences go beyond the obvious physical ones. We think differently, we respond differently, different things catch our hearts. However, we are too often inclined to ignore that fact and plow through life with our own perceptions of how others should live and respond. The harvest of that kind of mentality can be misunderstanding, resentment and alienation.

We are called to be attentive to one another in marriage, to stop and listen and to learn about each other. We must be willing to ask; we must be willing to reveal. Much can be learned about one another by how we live, but there are also things that words can give life and understanding to.

Conflict is inevitable, and often it is through conflict that we come in touch with the deep places and real meanings of our feelings. It is often only through times of discord that we can identify and offer the deepest content of our hearts. What we must remember in these moments is that our spouse is not the enemy. It sounds odd perhaps, but couples often come at each other from that very stance. In that place where little listening occurs, painful and damaging words are spoken and anger isolates.

Consider James’ words. What a compelling picture of relationship! When we look at one another in marriage, when we realize that this is just the person we need to help us become who God has made us to be, then our hearts are more likely to respond in attentive tenderness.

Father, You communicated Your love to us by sending Jesus to live and die for us. You bring us together in marriage, we who are so very different, and You call us to communicate with one another the very love we receive from You. Teach us, Father, how to do that in a way that honors each other and glorifies You.


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For devotions to help make your faith — and your marriage — stronger each week of the year, see Jim and Jean Daly’s book The Best Year of Your Marriage: 52 devotions to bring you closer.

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